A grab is not an attack, but the action of grabbing and holding an opponent. Regular grabs are performed by pressing Z, R+A, or L+A (GCN or Classic Controller), the - button (Wii Remote without nunchuk) A+B (Wii Remote, with or without nunchuck), or Z+A, D-pad down+A, or Dpad left (Wii Remote+ Nunchuck). Once grabbed, a character can be pummeled with the Attack or Grab buttons and thrown by tilting the stick in one of the four standard directions. A grabbed character will automatically escape after a certain amount of time depending on their damage; higher damaged characters will be held longer. Damage inflicted upon the grabbed character will increase grab time, and any button input by the grabbed character will decrease grab time.
There are essentially six types of grabs in the Smash Bros. series. They are Standing Grabs, Pivot Grabs, Dash Grabs, Shield Grabs, Extended Grabs, and Command Grabs.
Standing Grab is simply inputting the grab command from the idle position.
Pivot Grabs is when a perfect pivot is executed and a grab is input immediately afterwards. This is useful for tricking an opponent or punishing an opponent's roll or approach. Pivot grabs generally have the greatest increase in a character's grab range, which certainly helps characters with lackluster grab range such as Robin and Marth.
Shield Grabs are grabs used from the character's shielding state; essentially pressing the attack button while holding up a shield executes a shield grab and is useful for punishing an opponent's attacks on the character's shield.
A dash grab is a grab executed while a character is dashing forwards, allowing them to slide forwards across the ground a short distance as they grab, which generally increases the grab range of the character. Dash grabs typically have a bit of extra range but greater ending lag if the grab misses.
Extended grabs are grabs that utilize some sort of tool the character has such as Link and his Hookshot. Extended grabs can grab from a much farther range than regular grabs and only a few select characters have them. Extended grabs can typically be used to tether onto edges thus assisting in recovery. Extended grabs though having an increased range typically have higher ending lag making them easy to punish if they miss. When used in the air, extended grabs can also do a small amount of damage to opponents hit by them. It should be noted that extended grabs can also execute the four previously mentioned grabs.
Command grabs are grabs that do not use the typical grab input, but instead are executed by inputting a different command, typically a special move. Command grabs also tend to have other special properties or results attached to them.
The first four types of grabs, Standing, Pivot, Shield, and Dash, all effect a character's grab range when used; though the difference isn't usually major, it can be beneficial to some characters; it also effects the starting and ending lag of the grab, as, for example, shield grabs typically have higher starting lag because they need to go through the animation of dropping shield before executing the grab. Essentially, these four types of grabs effect grab range and grab lag.
Some special attacks are specialized grabs. These are:
- Bowser's Koopa Klaw in Melee (can grab in the air or at close range on the ground, can only throw forwards or backwards. No invincibility frames)
- Bowser's Flying Slam in Brawl (can grab and suicide kill opponents)
- Yoshi's Egg Lay (traps opponent in an egg, opponent takes half damage until they escape)
- Kirby and King Dedede's Inhale (traps opponent in Kirby or Dedede, opponent can wriggle to affect movement. King Dedede's is noticeably more powerful)
- Captain Falcon's and Ganondorf's up specials (grabs opponent in air and propels them away, can be done repeatedly if connects the first time)
- Ganondorf's Flame Choke in Brawl (grabs opponent and throws them into the ground)
- Wario's Chomp (bites opponent several times, then throws them out).
- Lucario's Force Palm (grabs and throws forwards after about a second, cannot grab in air or at long range)
- Diddy Kong's Monkey Flip (latches onto an opponent, can either pummel to release or let go)
Some grabs also function as a recovery technique when used in midair. By pressing the grab button in midair, certain characters will extend a long-range grappling item. When used on the ground, these grabs have the longest range, but a lot of lag if the grab does not connect. In Melee, if the grab connects with a wall, the character will hang from that wall and can press a button to be pulled up to where the end of the grab connected, allowing for second and third jumps to recover, known as wall-grapple. In Brawl, they will be shot to the nearest edge, making them Tether Recoveries. These include:
- Link, Toon Link and Young Link's Hookshot (and Link's Clawshot in Brawl)
- Samus' Grapple Beam
- Lucas's Rope Snake
In addition, there are several other ranged grabs, although they cannot be used as Tether Recoveries nor Z-airs:
- Yoshi's tongue (the only character with a ranged grab without a Tether Recovery).
- Olimar's Pikmin, which dash forward and do the grabbing and throwing for him (one special is already a Tether Recovery)
- Zero Suit Samus's Paralyzer whip. (two of her specials are already Tether Recoveries)
- Ivysaur's vines (also one special is already a Tether Recovery)
- Luigi's Poltergust G-00 in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
If someone wants to grab an opponent when he passes him/her he can grab the opponent by pressing the grab button and make their character face the opposite direction,
Initial Grab Range in Melee
Melee grab ranges by character according to Mew2King's webpage
- Young Link
- Ice Climbers
- Mr. Game & Watch
- Captain Falcon
- Dr. Mario / Mario
Initial grab range in Brawl
Initial grab range in Brawl posted in Smashboards
Tether Grabs (Grabs disjointed from the character)
1. Olimar's Blue Pikmin 10.1
2. Olimar's White Pikmin 10.0
3. Zero Suit Samus, Olimar's Red Pikmin 9.75
5. Olimar's Yellow Pikmin 9.6
6. Samus 9.2- 9.4
7. Link 8.25
8. Olimar's Purple Pikmin 7.5
9. Lucas 7.25
10. Toon Link 7
11. Yoshi 6.75
12. Ivysaur 6.1
- Note: None of these characters grabs were longer than the tether-grabbers, although DeDeDe came very close to surpassing Ivysaur.
13. King Dedede 6
14. Charizard 5.5
15. Zelda 5.3
16. Donkey Kong 5.1
17. Squirtle 5
18. Marth, Diddy Kong, Snake 4.75
21. Kirby, R.O.B. 4.5
23. Peach, Fox, Falco, Ness 4.25
27. Wario 4.1
28. Bowser, Pit, Meta Knight, Jigglypuff, Ike, Sonic 4
34. Pikachu, Sheik 3.9
36. Lucario 3.75
37. Wolf, Ice Climbers, Mario, Luigi, Mr. Game & Watch 3.5
42. Captain Falcon 3.25
43. Ganondorf 2.75
Grab Frame Data in Brawl
This is the first frame on which the grabs hit for the whole cast. It is used to figure out which grabs are best and how they compare to other characters. Posted in Smashboards
Character: Standing grab, Running Grab, Pivot Grab
Mario: 6, 12, 11
Luigi: 6, 12, 11
Peach: 6, 6, 13
Bowser: 9, 10, 9
Donkey Kong: 8, 10, 10
Diddy Kong: 6, 10, 8
Yoshi: 17, 11, 10
Wario: 6, 10, 8
Link: 12, 14, 15
Zelda: 12, 11, 14
Sheik: 6, 7, 8
Ganondorf: 7, 11, 10
Toon Link: 12, 14, 15
Samus: 17, 17, 19
Zero Suit Samus: 16, 16, 16
Pit: 6, 10, 9
Ice Climbers: 6, 8, 8
R.O.B.: 6, 9, 10
Kirby: 6, 10, 10
Meta Knight: 6, 8, 7
King Dedede: 6, 9, 7
Olimar: 11, 11, 11
Fox: 6, 11, 9
Falco: 6, 11, 9
Wolf: 6, 11, 9
Captain Falcon: 7, 11, 16
Pikachu: 6, 9, 10
Squirtle: 6, 8, 9
Ivysaur: 13, 13, 13
Charizard: 6, 8, 10
Lucario: 6, 8, 9
Jigglypuff: 6, 10, 10
Marth: 6, 9, 9
Ike: 7, 12, 9
Ness: 6, 8, 6
Lucas: 13, 16, 15
Mr. Game & Watch: 6, 9, 10
Snake: 8, 11, 9
Sonic: 6, 10, 10
Grabs in the original Super Smash Bros.
While the physics of grabbing remain much the same between Melee and Brawl, they were heavily altered between SSB and Melee. In SSB, a grab always lasts the same amount of time. Once the time is up, a forward throw automatically takes place. Grabs cannot be escaped unless someone is hit hard enough, and only two throws (forward and back) are available. Pummeling does not exist; pressing any button results in a forward throw. The strength of throws in general is significantly higher than in the two sequels (dealing damage comparable to air attacks and often KO'ing around 100%), and some throws can be used to combo very well.